Initiating an Age Discrimination Case
California presumes an employment relationship to be “at will.” This means that the employer-employee relationship can end at any time, by either the employer or employee for any lawful reason. However, an employer cannot discriminate against an employee based on his or her age. California’s laws protect employees over forty years old from age discrimination. There are no discrimination laws protecting young employees though. An employer may terminate or demote its employees, but it must do so without discriminatory intent.
To bring an age discrimination lawsuit in California, an employee must exhaust his or her administrative remedies by filing a verified complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The complaint must be filed within three years of any adverse employment action. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing will review the complaint, and either: decide to take legal action against the employer, or issue a right-to-sue letter to the employee. When an employee receives the right-to-sue letter, he or she has one year to initiate a lawsuit.
To file a complaint in court, an employee must show that (1) he or she is forty years old or older, (2) he or she was performing their job duties competently, (3) he or she suffered from an adverse employment action, such as termination or demotion, and lastly, (4) there is some evidence of the employer’s discriminatory motive. Once the employee makes his or her preliminary showing of discrimination, the employer must prove that it acted without discriminatory intent.
If you or your business is facing an age discrimination claim from an employee, contact the Dias Law Firm, Inc. for legal representation.
By: Sarah M. Hacker, Esq
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